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‘Back to our roots’

By Glen Liford, Editor 10/1/2018


Sam Widener, left, along with his grandsons, from left, Will and Ben Edwards, and his son and daughter-in-law Chris and Cindy Widener and their daughter Kelsey, hosted some 100 people at the historic WinCrest Angus barn on Sept. 12 for the unveiling of the new Certified Angus Beef logo as part of the brand’s 40th anniversary.
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In celebration of the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand’s 40th anniversary, some 40 barns nationwide are being painted with the brand’s distinctive logo. In Tennessee, two barns will feature the CAB trademark: WinCrest Angus in Johnson City and Deere Valley Angus Farm in Fayetteville.

The idea for the promotion originated as the CAB staff brainstormed how to celebrate its 40-year history. A director suggested painting barns.

“It’s one of those ideas that develops a life of its own,” says Margaret Coleman, CAB director of digital marketing. “The brand was started by Angus producers, and this [effort] connects us back to our roots. We’ve been able to visit some historic Angus operations.”

The WinCrest Barn is the 33rd to be painted in the promotion. It is owned by Sam and Betty Widener and sits near the intersection of Carroll Creek Road and Brown’s Mill Road, in clear view of bustling Interstate 26 in Johnson City. The front of the community landmark was already adorned with two quilt squares based on family heirlooms.

According to 2016 traffic counts, some 6,400 vehicles a day pass by the barn on Carroll Creek Road and another 63,000 on Interstate 26.

The Wideners bought the historic farm that was once the Wayland Crouch Farm in 1984. It is the homeplace of John Crouch, who spent his career working for the American Angus Association and served as executive director of the organization from 2002 to 2006.

Sam and Betty farm more than 300 acres of land in Washington and Sullivan counties and have a herd of 75 registered Angus, selling bulls and replacement heifers. The Wideners, who also own a wholesale flooring business, originally got into Angus cattle as a 4-H project for their children, Kim and Chris.

The Widener barn was built in the 1940s and was used as a milk barn for the family’s dairy operation. It originally sat where the Carroll Creek Bridge crosses over what is now Interstate 26. The road’s construction forced the relocation of the building in 1969, and the main structure of the barn was moved intact to its current location. The wings on either side were added later.

The CAB logo was painted in only three days by Troy Freeman of Free Sky Studios of Springfield, Ill. He’ll return to Tennessee later this year to paint the 38th barn at Deere Valley Angus Farm.

“This one was a pleasure to paint,” says Troy. “The smooth wood made it great, and the logo really pops against that black background.”

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